A few years ago, native advertising was new on the marketing scene and just 3% of people were knowledgeable about the topic. Content marketing was early in its heyday and overshadowing just about every other form of marketing.

Today, while content marketing still ranks at the top of the pyramid for effective marketing efforts, native advertising has climbed the ranks. The two are similar, but they’re not interchangeable. One or both methods may work for your business, depending on your goals and budget. Let’s take a look at the differences between the two strategies and when they may be most appropriate to use.

You Have $0 to Spend

If you don’t want to invest any money in your content efforts, skip native advertising and stick to content marketing. Native advertising is the child of content marketing and digital advertising. While it’s a form of content, rather than a blatant self-promotion, it is also sponsored, and therefore you pay a media company or publication to advertise your content piece. For content marketing, you would create a piece of content, such as a blog article on your website, and then share it on social media and through email. You don’t spend any money, making it a great marketing tactic for small businesses.

You’re Willing to Allocate Some Dough

Native advertising isn’t as expensive as traditional forms of advertising, making it a great option for advisors on a budget. In fact, you can start for just $10 per day if you use a platform like Outbrain or Taboola. With these platforms, you can submit a blog post from your website and your article will appear as “Sponsored” or “Recommended” content on various websites, from news sites to sports websites, depending on your target audience and which publications you think your target market visits. Similar to these platforms are Facebook, Twitter, and LinkedIn ads. You pay to promote a piece of content that drives back to your website.

You Want to Establish Yourself as a Thought Leader

Native advertising is still a form of advertising, and the best way to become a thought leader is through organic growth. If you want to become a thought leader in your industry, focus your energy on content marketing. Along with blogging on your website, publish posts on LinkedIn’s publishing platform and contribute articles to other blogs and local newspapers. You won’t have to pay to contribute posts, but you’ll need to have a well-written piece that matches the caliber and tone of the publication to which you’re submitting. As you can imagine, you have to put more effort into content marketing, as with native advertising you can pay to post just about any article or content piece.

You Want to Grow Your Audience as Quickly as Possible

If you’re focused on numbers – from website traffic to post likes – native advertising will provide greater satisfaction than content marketing. By putting a little money behind your posts, you can potentially reach hundreds of thousands of more people than you would on your blog or social media pages. One of the great things about native advertising is that it comes across as the most authentic form of advertising. You’re providing informative content, but you’re paying to promote it so more people outside your current network can see it.

If you’ve wanted to dabble in advertising but still keep your message compelling, native advertising is a great place to start. Don’t neglect your content marketing efforts, and use both methods together to educate people within and outside of your network so you can gain new, valuable leads you can transform into clients.